CHICKEN DEBAL CURRY
The origins of this fiery looking dish can be traced to the Kristang culture in Malacca, Malaysia. Malacca was formerly a colony of Portugal. There are similarities between Vindaloo from Goa, another former Portuguese colony and this Kristang debal curry; mainly in the use of white vinegar, mustard and dried chillies, reflecting the Portuguese voyage to Malacca.
The spice levels used within family recipes can vary significantly from one family to another. While the ingredients may include pork, chicken, smoked bacon, frankfurters, luncheon meat or vegetables like cabbage, potato and long beans. My Chicken Debal Curry has a distinctive local Malaysian flavour with fragrance from the lemongrass, turmeric, galangal and dark soy sauce.
The common culinary thread that binds and gives this recipe it’s distinct character; is the pronounced tang of vinegar and the bite of mustard seeds.
A fragrant complex curry, full of history with a rich bite.
Ingredients − Serves 4
- Oil as required
- 8 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 3 Ruby Blue potatoes, either halved or quartered
- 2 stalks lemongrass, bottom section, bruised
- 1 large brown onion, sliced
- ½ jar Latasha’s Kitchen Vindaloo Masala Paste
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 stalk lemon grass
- 4 cm galangal
- 3 cm piece turmeric
- 2 pieces fresh hot red chillies, sliced diagonally
- 4 pieces chicken maryland, skinless, best with bone in, cut into 4 pieces each – marinate with ½ tbsp turmeric and 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup water or more
- 1 tbsp thick black soy sauce
- ¾ tbsp mustard seeds, toast lightly then grind to a fine powder
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
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- In a large stainless steel wok, add oil and semi-fry garlic until golden brown, drain and keep aside. In the same oil semi-fry the potatoes, drain and keep aside.
- In the remaining oil, add bruised lemongrass and onions and fry gently until onion is caramelised.
- Then add Latasha’s Kitchen Vindaloo Paste, vinegar and blended fresh ingredients. Cook on low until fragrant and thick, approx. 15-20 minutes.
- Now add chicken pieces and some salt. Stir-fry chicken in the paste for 10 minutes until well combined. Add water and cook until chicken is half done, approx. 20 minutes. Then add ground mustard seeds and semi fried potatoes and cook until chicken and potatoes are tender. Finally mix through black soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and fried garlic.
- This dish benefits from sitting a few hours to develop the flavour.
TIP: If the dish is too hot, an added swirl of plain yoghurt reduces the fieriness a little.